The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is reminding farmers and ranchers that they have until Friday, February 3, to enroll for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) at their local USDA Service Center.

CSP helps established conservation stewards deliver multiple conservation benefits on working lands, including improved water and soil quality and enhanced wildlife habitat. CSP is the largest private lands conservation program in Missouri and in the nation. Missouri landowners have enrolled 1.6 million acres into CSP over the past seven years.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like residue management, cover crops, nutrient and pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land.

NRCS made several updates to CSP that will help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications will help producers understand up front if they are meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives.  These new tools also allow producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process. An important change is that there is more flexibility now for when Missouri farmers and ranchers make changes to their operations.